Alistair McGowan: Making sport out of the famously fit
Do people hassle you on the streets for impressions? They used to but I’ve not been on TV much recently so it’s less a question of, ‘Do impressions’ and more, ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere? Did you used to work in John Lewis?’
It’ll start again now you’re back with You Cannot Be Serious!, which is a bit like a sporty version of Harry Hill’s TV Burp. It’s a very similar format, really. We show clips, have some running jokes, musical numbers… It has that spirit of Burp about it.
It must be tricky to keep things topical when sporting developments happen so fast. Oh, completely. The Big Impression was always up to date, but this directly responds to what goes on in the week so that’s very much a new and difficult challenge.
From a vocal point of view, you must have been thrilled when Roy Hodgson got the England job. I sort of was really. Harry Redknapp would have been a much more difficult character. He’s yet another cockney wideboy in the manner of Venables and countless people I’ve done before. Roy is unique.
And with it being the England football team, the comedy will write itself… Well, to a point. Yes. I must admit, I’m not very optimistic about our chances.
Specialising in sport personalities, isn’t it a problem that many don’t seem to have a personality? We try to mix sports with entertainment to appeal to the whole family. The problem now is that we have multi-channel TV. When I started The Big Impression 13 years ago, half the country knew who Dot Cotton was, but now only one in 30 would know who the characters from The Apprentice are. So you wonder, is it worth doing Nick Hewer?
In the same way that you made David Beckham a star, will audiences learn about a new generation of sportsmen and women through you? Maybe, but I think you’re flattering me by saying I made David Beckham a star. He was getting there without our help.
Which celebs do make the cut then? We had Jedward commenting on the French Open. It was exhausting being Jedward for three minutes. I don’t know how they do it for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
After you perform as somebody, is a little part of that person left behind? Yeah, a little bit. But I hope nothing of Jedward has been left inside me.
You Cannot Be Serious! airs on Saturdays at 7pm on ITV1